Two workers in a butcher shop—one of them a young worker—were trying to clear an obstruction while cleaning a large meat grinder. When the ON switch was inadvertently knocked, the machine turned on. As a result, the young worker suffered the partial amputation of an arm and several fingers on the other hand.
The meat grinder here has been de-energized in preparation for maintenance. The plug has been disconnected. As an additional safeguard, the energy-isolating device on the wall to the right of the machine has also been locked out. The machine also has clear warning signs and a switch guard to prevent inadvertent start-up. Just below the start-up switch is also an emergency stop.
Safe work practices:
- Before operating any equipment—new or used—ensure that a qualified service technician inspects it for defects and makes any necessary repairs. Regular inspections should make sure that parts such as mechanical guards as well as safety switches and interlocks are in place.
- Ensure that used equipment comes with the manufacturer's operating manual. If not, acquire one before operating the machine.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the safe use, maintenance, and repair of equipment.
- Establish lockout procedures. Ensure that workers follow these procedures to de-energize machines before clearing obstructions or doing maintenance.
- Provide new and young workers with the required orientation, instruction, training, and supervision so that they can perform their work safely. Keep records of this process.
- Add guards to START switches on older equipment to prevent inadvertent start-up.
- Upgrade safeguarding on old and used equipment to current safety standards, including adding emergency stops.
WorkSafeBC has a wide range of health and safety information. For assistance and information on workplace health and safety, call toll-free within BC 1-888-621-SAFE (7233) or visit our web site at WorkSafeBC.com.